Kerala - Defective ways draw public ire

Kerala is estimated to be generating 3.7 million tonnes of municipal solid waste annually. But the state still lacks a proper garbage treatment facility. 

The Kerala government recently initiated setting up of waste to energy plants in various districts, including Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode cities. But public protests continue to be a major hindrance.

The root contention of public resentment is the unscientific methods used to transport garbage.

The intensity of the garbage crisis was evident after many parts of Kochi were covered by smog
for days following a fire in the garbage heaps at Brahmapuram this February. Many Kochi residents were even forced to shift to distant places.

Thiruvananthapuram just witnessed a successful protest by
the people of Peringammala in the rural parts of the district against setting up a waste to energy plant. Though the city earlier had a major garbage treatment plant at Vilappilsala, it was shut in 2012 owing to violent protests by local people. The real estate value of the locality had also suffered owing to the garbage plant.

Unscientific garbage disposal by illegal slaughterhouses near Thiruvananthapuram airport also led to an increase in bird strike incidents over the years.

Meanwhile, Kerala is now focusing on source-level garbage disposal initiatives.

A number of aerobic bins and non-degradable garbage collection centres have been set up by local bodies. A recent round the clock dry waste collection hub set up in Thiruvananthapuram is being replicated in other cities as well.

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